By Dashaun Simmons

Live N Direct’s ( “This Is Hip Hop” was a show that tried to fit in so much in one night it was overwhelming.  The audience was mixed with hip hop heads who live for these types of shows. They hailed from all over New York (two fully dressed hasidic Jews were in attendance) as well as places like France and Belgium. The show started out with resurrecting the Rawkus records era with Brooklyn’s own Shabaam Sadeeq. Shabaam has always had a street hip hop energy fused with his love of the culture and that comes across in his show. The host D-Stroy (from the group the Arsonists) did a good job keeping everyone focused on having a good time while performing a few New York authenticity checks. Many people failed.

In between acts there was some non-rap entertainment. A young lady named Shay did a mean version of Intro’s “Love Thang” over a beatbox. Also there was a dance group from Belgium who did a pretty good routine out in the audience. As the show continued, Uncle Ralph did his video mix downstairs while artists like Real Live, the Fearless 4 and NINE held down the stage. NINE still has the voice of choice. He absolutely bodied the place when he did his underground hit “Whutcha Want”. Missing in action Brooklyn duo the Cella Dwellas were joined on stage by their long time producer Nick Wiz for their debut single “Land of the Lost”. It’s been a long time since anyone has seen the Dwellas on stage together and they haven’t lost a step.

With over 20 years in the game Large Professor came on stage with Neek The Exotic and reminded everyone to never fake the funk. Unfortunately, “Fakin The Funk” was the only recognizable song he performed that night, but he still kept the crowd engaged. When asked about the event Large Pro stated “It was a blessing from God” to be in the game so long and still get love. Next up to bat was Jersey’s own Lords of The Underground. Doitall, Mr Funke and Lord Jazz seemed to be the only act that performs on a regular basis. They had routines, hits, and crowd interaction. They were easily the home run of the night. The Lords also paid respect by bringing out their mentor Marley Marl. They killed everyone with an amazing performance of their money song Chief Rocka and left folks wanting more.

By this time the program was over an hour and a half behind schedule. DJ Eclipse took over for Evil Dee and D-Stroy did all he could to keep what was left of the crowd around. The Group Home rolled through their short Premier produced catalog. From “Words from the Nutcracker” down to Living Proof and Superstar, this performance showed just how important good production can be. At one point Dap had his mic taken away from him by the hostile rapper himself Keith Murray to announce his own arrival. This was a definite indication that the night was almost over but the madness was just beginning.

At almost 2am Keith took the stage and ripped through a slimmed down version of his normal show. His number one fan was apparently in front of the stage rapping along to every syllable. Keith was so impressed he literally pulled the guy on stage to rock with him. This random fan was finishing Keith’s verses to songs like “The Rhyme and “The Most Beautifulest Thing In This World”. After Mr. Murray’s crowd surfing and moshing to “Yeah Yeah You Know It” the show was finally over. While leaving you could hear the fan saying into the mic, “I don’t know Keith Murray, but he’s like my favorite rapper ever and he just pulled me on stage to rock with him.”  If that’s not hip hop, I don’t know what is.

For more of this energy be sure to come out for Side A at BB Kings on April 17th with The Ultramagnetic MCs, MC Eiht, Raekwon and many more!